Torta di Rose (Rose Cake)


Here it is another of my favorite cakes 🙂 and I tell you soon, there are no roses in the recipe, but the name is just because of the shape (I’ll tell you more, in my village of origin we call it also “Ricciolina”, which means small curls).

This cake is typical of Lombardy region (especially Mantua province, it seems that the chef Cristoforo di Messisbugo created it in the 15th century at the Gonzaga’s palace, in honour of the marquess Isabella d’Este, for her wedding…if true, I guess without white sugar 😀 ), and this is the cake that my grandmother always prepared at everyone’s birthday in the family, and I mean everyone: there was no birthday without this cake 🙂 but this cake is also perfect for breakfast! And what a great breakfast! 😀

Like in many other cases, every housewife has her own recipe, so there are some small differences between each of them, but the concept is always the same.

It takes long because we have to wait the yeast to do its job, but it’s not too complicated and it is absolutely worth it!

This is a cake where the taste of butter must be “evident” in your mouth, so choose a good one 🙂

Let’s see the recipe.

INGREDIENTS (28cm cake pan):

First dough (biga):

  • 250 g flour
  • 15 g fresh yeast
  • 200 ml milk (warm, about 30 °C)

Second dough:

  • 350 g flour
  • 6 yolks (but keep some egg whites for the end)
  • 80 g butter
  • 1 spoon of honey (I use acacia honey)
  • 80 g sugar
  • 8 g salt
  • the first dough


  • 150 g sugar
  • 150 g butter
  1. First we have to prepare the first dough, the so called “lievitino” or “biga”. To do that, sift the flour and put it in a bowl. Reduce the fresh yeast in powder with your hands, and add it too, then the milk. Start mixing all together until you have a soft dough (few minutes with a dough maker). Then let it rest in a bowl covered with a clean towel until it triples in size, it will take about 1 and half/2 hours depending on the room temperature.
  2. When the first dough has grown enough start to prepare the second dough: sift the flour, add the sugar, the salt, the yolks, the soft butter cut into small pieces, and mix them together well. Keep going until the eggs are absorbed, then add the first dough and mix well together, until you reach the shape of a perfectly smooth ball (if needed, you can add a drop of milk). Keep it on the table.
  3. Prepare now the cream, you can help yourself with an electric whisker or with a machine: put together in a bowl the sugar and the soft butter cut into small pieces, and whisk until it becomes a soft spreadable cream.
  4. Now distribute enough flour on the working table (I prefer semolina flour for this), and with a rolling pin flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, of about 4-5 mm thick.
  5. Take a spatula and spread the cream all over the dough surface.
  6. Now, carefully, from one of the 2 longest sides start to roll the dough until the middle, then do the same from the opposite side (but if you want larger roses do just one single roll, as I did in the last photo below).
  7. Then cut the roll(s) with a knife into shorter rolls, of about 6-7 cm long.AAA_4394small
  8. Now take a high cake pan, spread some butter on the sides and the bottom, and put the rolls inside, first around the border, then inside, and then in the middle. You must leave some space between, because they must still grow.AAA_4397small
  9. Now cover with a clean towel, and wait other 2-3 hours (depending on the room temperature).
  10. When all the cake pan is full and the rolls full grown, take a brush and spread some of the egg whites on the top of each roll.AAA_4398small
  11. Put in the oven and bake it at 160/170 °C fan-assisted mode for the first 10-15 minutes, and then at 180 °C static mode for other 25 minutes (so about 35 minutes all together, but it could vary from oven to oven). Should the top of the cake become too much brown, cover it with an aluminum foil.AAA_4408small
  12. When it’s ready, take it out and wait at least one hour before removing from the pan.
  13. Enjoy! 🙂

PS: you have to know there is a “technique” to eat it: you must unroll the roll 😀 that’s how we usually eat it.Don’t cut a roll in half…it’s just not nice 😀

PPS: a good alternative could be to add in the dough a paste made with 40-50 grams of candied orange peels (they will add some moist too), especially if you made it yourself following for example THIS recipe 🙂



Products used in this recipe:

Flour: Farina Buratto Biologica, from “Mulino Marino”

Butter: Berchtesgadener Bio butter

Eggs: free range eggs, from a local farmer


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